Culture Change and M&A

Ryder is a leader in commercial transportation and supply chain management solutions, it is US-owned, but operates a truck leasing business in the UK.  In 2011 Ryder Europe acquired Hill Hire plc, a market leader in commercial truck leasing, rental and maintenance, with a solid base of contractual customers.

While both companies were independently making approximately £150m per year, Ryder’s concern was that business models, cultures and customer bases of each were completely different.  They wanted to make sure that they were able to integrate the two without destroying what made each successful.  For this reason, OE Cam was asked to review the culture of the two businesses and help achieve this without undermining the value they had just bought, something typical of acquisitions.  The outcome Ryder sought was that Hill Hire should not lose any customers.


Our Approach

OE Cam reviewed a number of aspects of culture in each company including leadership, operations, sales, customer service and communication.  We found stark differences between the two.  For example, Hill Hire was very agile and responsive to their customers, whilst Ryder was very strategic, building long term relationships through account management with customers.  Hill Hire operated with a series of ‘fiefdoms’, a decentralised sales approach, that saw local regional managers having a lot of decision-making autonomy.  Ryder on the other hand had a centralised sales approach.

In order to make sure that Hill Hire staff did not develop negative feelings towards Ryder by thinking their intention was to re-mould them entirely, we ran focus groups with them as part of our attempt to better understand their culture.  By including them at this early stage we reassured them that Ryder was looking to preserve Hill Hire strengths.

With the information we gathered from our culture survey, we helped Ryder build a strategically agile Ryder-Hill Hire, to get the best out of the both.  We protected what was good in Hill Hire, like their depots, which served their customers well.  We then suggested bringing some of the Hill Hire management into the Ryder management team.  We supported the newly formed leadership team by developing their capabilities and coaching and supporting them to lead an integrated business.


The Results

Ryder and its newly acquired Hill Hire had a challenging but eventually fruitful integration.  They managed to hit their revenue targets and Hill Hire did not lose any customers.  We are their trusted advisors on organisational development and Learning and Development.

For more information please read our journal article “Ryder Europe Integrates Hill Hire”

To learn more about this project, please contact Martyn Sakol at martyn.sakol@oecam.com or phone our Cambridge office on +44 (0)1223 269009.
We welcome all enquiries.
Martyn Sakol

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